29 Dec 2016

Concerns surgeons operating while burned out

8:51 am on 29 December 2016
Association of Salaried Medical Specialists Executive Director Ian Powell.

Ian Powell says changes must be made immediately Photo: Supplied

The head of the senior doctors' union says he has grave concerns about the state of the health system.

A recent survey by the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists showed a quarter of senior doctors wanted to quit their jobs in the next five years.

Head of the association Ian Powell said that showed many doctors were burned out and disenchanted.

"If they [patients] go in for an operation, there is either a 50 percent chance of the surgeon who operates on them being burned out or the anaesthetist who anaesthetises them being burned out," he said.

"Now that's got to be turned around - and that's immediate."

When coupled with under-funding of public hospitals, there could be more serious problems in the sector in the near future, he said.

A spokesperson for the Minister of Health, Jonathan Coleman, said Mr Powell's comments were well-known and nothing new.

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